The Ravens saw players get injured at an alarming rate this year on their home turf. And while they say that’s not the reason, they’re switching to grass anyway.
Via Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun, Ravens president Dick Cass said the team is getting rid of the artificial stuff they’ve played on for 13 years at M&T Bank Stadium in favor of a natural surface.
“We want to try and see if we can have a good grass field at M&T Bank Stadium,” Cass said, aiming high. “We knew we were going to replace our current field at the end of the season in any event. For a long time, we just assumed that we would go with artificial. We’ve been very happy with this field.
“But our players really much prefer to play on natural grass. We talked to the players about it. We had a meeting about it maybe three months ago now. I think the coaches prefer it to be on natural grass. I think our fans will prefer it because Baltimore is sort of an old school football town and natural grass is more consistent with the way that we view that we play football.”
Of course, this year, they’re playing it without quarterback Joe Flacco (ACL), running back Justin Forsett (broken arm) and wide receiver Steve Smith (torn Achilles), who all suffered season ending injuries at home. But Cass said that wasn’t the impetus for the switch.
“I don’t think the injuries we’ve experienced this year or in prior years are related to the type of [surface],” he said. “But if you look at studies that have been done around the league, I do think that you’d find that there are more lower body extremity injuries on artificial surface than there is on a grass field.
“But the primary factor was our players really wanted to play on grass and we think that playing on grass is just more consistent with the way football should be played in Baltimore.”
The Ravens played on grass from 1998 until 2002, when a first turf field was installed. They replaced that with another artificial surface in 2010.
Players will certainly be all for it, as long as the grass grows properly.